Hagen Engler
5 minute read
4 Feb 2021
1:25 pm

To be seen: Kamala Harris, surfing and my little girl…

Hagen Engler

As a white person, trying to raise a black child, Hagen Engler often thinks back to the 1988 Fence Masters surfing competition, when his friend surfed against the big boys and made sure they were represented.

Picture: iStock

I was reminded recently of an auspicious occasion during my previous life as a surfer in Port Elizabeth. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it taught me the importance of something fundamental: seeing yourself represented. Anyone who has visited the Port Elizabeth beachfront will know the city is not blessed with impressive surf. 90% of the time, waves dribble into the bay around the corner from Cape Recife, the point a kind of gatekeeper ensuring that nothing taller than waist-high arrives at Pollok Beach to alarm the locals. Port Elizabeth could never dream of competing with established surf...